Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New this, new that... plus weeks 11 and 12

Haven't done much photography in the last week or two, but I do have a couple from the Project Flickr folder for you.

This weekend is my 50th birthday (the real one, as opposed to the pretend one last year when I got given the camera), so I'm putting half a century behind me and moving forward into a new one.  I'm also starting a new job on Monday, which will hopefully see me get the opportunity to take the camera to some new locations - the job will involve a certain amount of travel, or so I was told at the interviews.  The job is away from Sydney - so although I hope I will have just as many different photographic opportunities, you'll not see many more Opera House, Harbour Bridge, or city shots from me.

The change of job also means I'll possibly be without access to a PC or internet for a short while, so you may not see any posts from me at all for a few weeks, but I'll try and make up for it when I get back online.

So week 11's Project Flickr theme was "Home".  Now, I regularly pass a homeless guy that sleeps in a doorway on my way to work.  He's never asked for money, and always smiles and gives you a good morning, and his smile gets bigger if anyone takes the trouble to return the favour.  I don't know what his story is, but his plight decided my photo for the week - and I gave it the caption "Home - not everyone is so lucky as to have one".  I had actually hoped to get a picture of him, but shortly before, he vanished and somebody else turned up in his doorway - so I had to make do with a photo of him instead.  I'm happy to say that my guy turned up again a few days later, so nothing bad had happened to him, but now, after tomorrow, I'll probably never see him again.
Project Flickr : Week 11 - Home

Week 12 was "Time".  There was obviously going to be plenty of clocks and other timepieces, so I wanted to try and think of a visual play on words involving time.  My good friend Steve in NZ beat me to the punch with 'Time Flies' and a little travel alarm clock with some angel wings hanging from a tree (nice one Steve), and I ended up settling on 'Time is a great healer'.  I figured on a subtle placement of my watch amongst the items from a first aid kit - but most of the arrangements I came up with were TOO subtle, and the watch was lost amongst the other items, or the watch face was at the wrong angle.  Eventually, I came up with this somewhat less than subtle layout.  It works, but I'm sure I could do better (but the race was on before Steve or anyone else could pip me to the post).
Project Flickr : Week 12 - Time...
I thought about a picture of a lot of watches on display in a jeweller's shop, and calling it 'plenty of time', but now, I'm out of time - I have to give this PC back to my old company tomorrow, and I don't know how long it will be before I get a new one, or if I'll be able to use it for recreational purposes (like using it as a frisbee... or an extra weight on my dive belt? :-o)

So - this is a temporary, but hopefully not too long, farewell...
Until next time,
Happy Snappin'

Monday, March 14, 2011

Project Flickr : Week 10 - Emergency Vehicles

Working just around the corner from Sydney's central Fire Station, I thought this assignment would be a breeze, but Sod's Law prevailed, and there was very little activity during my lunch breaks (when I lurked on street corners just waiting for an opportunity to snap a fire truck careening around a corner, heeling over to one side with the weight of water in the back).

Instead, I had to console myself with more passive shots... The Fire Chiefs and support crews have normal saloon cars and SUVs that they get around the city in, and these are often parked in a row outside the fire station.

Project Flickr : Week 10 - Emergency Vehicles #2

Another day, while I was lurking to take pictures, this Fire Engine came out of the station and then stopped (they weren't on an emergency call), and I was able to get the shot below, a detail of the lights on the front.
Project Flickr : Week 10 - Emergency Vehicles #1

I was always in the wrong place whenever I heard sirens going, but I did manage to get a shot of an Ambulance just ambling by, patrolling and waiting for its next 'shout', though this one never made it to the Project Flickr postings.

Finally, in order to complete my hat-trick of the three services, I needed a Police vehicle, and found a string of four AFP (Australian Federal Police) cars all parked together.  Unfortunately, the second car in the string pulled away just as I approached, but two together still made a nice shot, and I took a whole bunch from various points.  I only had one more shot to enter in the project, so I amalgamated a couple of shots of the cars, with a close up if the AFP badge on the bonnet (hood) of one of them, and submitted that.
Project Flickr : Week 10 - Emergency Vehicles #3

This week's assignment is 'Home'... not sure what I'm going to do yet - need to put the thinking cap on.  I'm also working on another project that requires pictures of a humble fork (the kind you eat with) - how on earth do you make a fork look exciting?  Watch this space ;-)  LOL

Till next time,
Happy Snappin'

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dabbling at dawn (or about 30 mins later)

Woke up this morning to a light mist in the park, which actually got a little thicker as the sun came up, rather than sliding away to the pond as it usually does. As the sun cleared the trees and started to shine down into the park, through the mist - I just couldn't resist going out and trying to get a shot.  This first shot kind of reflects what I 'saw' - not that impressive, but the potential was there.

I changed my viewpoint slightly to ensure the sunlight came through the branches of the tree, and exposed for the blue sky which was round to my left, in order to under-expose the misty area and throw the tree into more of a silhouette.

I liked the way the sunburst and beams came through the tree, and also the reflections on the bush at the right of the frame.  The sunburst was also surrounded by a rainbow coloured halo - though you can't see it very well at this size

I tried another viewpoint to try and get the sun shining through the leaves, which gave a nice sunburst, but afterwards, I realised that the telegraph pole was right in the middle of the picture.

Then I checked the previous photos, and saw the pole was in those as well - but not so badly that a little Photoshop time couldn't sort it out.

I went back to the original viewpoint and moved around a bit to get the sun in the leaves (without the pole this time), and this shot gave a really nice sunburst, so then I cropped in to get this one.  So, today I have a new set of wallpapers on my screens at work :D

Hope you enjoy seeing them,
Happy Snappin'

Monday, March 7, 2011

Project Flickr : Week 9 - Alphabet.

This week's challenge was all about finding the shapes of letters in everyday objects around us.  The first thing that sprang into my mind was to use a wheel or tyre as the letter O.  But since it came so readily to my mind, I felt sure it would have to others as well - so I set myself thinking about other letters, and this got my mind working.

I thought of a step ladder - the kind that tradies use, with a brace across the middle - as the letter A.  I found this one being used to stock shelves in a clothing store one lunchtime.  I bit the bullet and went in and asked the assistant "if she'd mind me taking a picture of her step ladder" ?  After a few strange looks, and then understanding after I explained the reason for my madness - she was very pleased to help me out.  It caused a bit of amusement in the store, so I just grabbed a couple of quick shots and beat a hasty and embarrassed retreat.

My son has bracelet that was laying around, that made a nice C, but the challenge for me was to get a background or surface that did it justice.  After trying the kitchen workbench, and a plain sheet of white paper, both of which were pretty 'meh!', I tried the black glass surface of the hob.  With careful placement to avoid the actual cooking rings, and the reflection of the tiles behind, I was quite pleased with this shot, and the way the edge of the bracelet picked up the flash and contrasts with the dark glass.  With hindsight, I think I should have put a sheet of white paper on the wall behind - if you look carefully, you can just see the out of focus reflection of the joint between two tiles.

If only I could find something to make a B, I could post ABC.  After seeing sunglasses on a display stand, I figured that a nice pair of 'Aviators' would do the trick, but found these 3D cinema glasses knocking around at home, which were a reasonable second best... plus the arms on them were stiff enough that I could stand them on their side to get the shot without having to rotate the whole photo (and have them looking like they were stuck to a wall).  Once again - a little more care was needed with the background (though in my defense, most of the set up shots were done late at night after everyone else had gone to bed).  I have a couple of 'post-it' type flip-charts, so I can stick sheets together to make 'seamless' backdrops - except - you can see the seamless seam in this one :(

After getting A, B, and C, I was quite excited to try and find more letters - I already had Q, which I was quite pleased with (it was the clip on a rope barrier in a shopping mall).  I decided that although technically, I am only supposed to put three shots in per week - I had combined A, B, and C into 1 shot, and had already posted the Q, so I still had one shot left.  I'd try and nail the whole alphabet for my last shot.  Some of the letters came easy, but some - G and R in particular, gave me a lot of headaches.  Near the end of the week, I had found the G (a 'G'-clamp in my garage), but had no ideas on R, and still had a lot of ideas for other letters that were still just that - ideas - that hadn't been photographed, so I posted the G as my third image.

Then - I found an R (also in my garage - the handle of a mastic gun), and I decided a concerted effort was needed.  One final push to put those ideas into action.  By 11pm on Sunday evening, I had finally got them all together and composed into a single image - which I posted to the project even though it was my 4th picture. The admins of the group very graciously allowed it to stay - I don't know if anyone else took the same project on privately, but nobody else published an entire alphabet - though one guy did do 'Project Flickr' all in one shot - which was very good.

So here it is... my complete alphabet.

A - Step ladder
B - 3D glasses
C - Bracelet
D - Tape measure
E - Fancy brickwork
F - Railings that stop in mid-air
G - G-Clamp
H - Electrical connector
I - Grommit
J - Air conditioner ducting
K - Drain grate
L - Laptop
M - Arched windows
N - Roof trusses at station
O - A loo roll
P - Golf club
Q - Rope barrier clip
R - Mastic gun handle
S - Curly carving on a building
T - Stained glass window frame
U - Carving fork
V - Serving tongs
W - Church roofline
X - Tap on kitchen sink
Y - Garden fork handle
Z - Internal bracing on garage door

Project Flickr : Week 9 - Alphabet - The Full Monty!

Now for a lay down...
TTFN and Happy Snappin'